Asian Games: Nikhat Zareen looks to continue golden run

2 weeks ago 18

Nikhat Zareen has a ruthless streak. Since March 2022, she is undefeated successful the ring. Two satellite titles and a Commonwealth Games golden person been won on the mode arsenic her opponents person been demolished successful a objective and ascendant fashion. And it won't beryllium incorrect to say: she has owned the stage.

File photograph  of Nikhat Zareen(HT PRINT) PREMIUM File photograph of Nikhat Zareen(HT PRINT)

With each outing, though, it has go clearer -- she is chasing thing bigger... an Olympic medal. Every bout, each tourney is simply a measurement towards the 2024 Paris Olympics. The satellite titles, the CWG medal... they were each stepping stones.

In that respect, the Asian Games successful Hangzhou volition instrumentality her 1 measurement person to her dream. Four Olympic berths volition beryllium disposable successful the airy flyweight part (50kg) and that means a semi-final berth volition beryllium capable for her to seal her summons to Paris.

The 27-year-old Indian volition beryllium a beardown contender for a golden medal astatine the Asian Games. If that happens, she volition beryllium lone the 2nd women boxer, aft Mary Kom, from the state to triumph an Asiad gold.

At the satellite championships successful March, Nikhat's spot and intelligence toughness were connected afloat display. She fought six bouts, going done moments wherever it became hard to support moving her feet due to the fact that of the back-to-back fights.

It wasn't casual but Nikhat took the carnal toll successful her stride and went done the grind successful arsenic business-like mode arsenic possible. In each round, her attacks were relentless.

It volition not beryllium casual successful Hangzhou either, and Nikhat volition person to nutrient a likewise superb effort. The gully astatine the Worlds was packed with 35 boxers. Though the numbers are apt to beryllium smaller astatine the Asian Games, a fewer known challengers volition beryllium there.

Her toughest triumph astatine the Worlds came against two-time satellite championships medallist Chuthamat Raksat of Thailand successful the quarter-finals successful a bout that went for review. In the final, Nikhat bushed two-time Asian champion Nguyen Thi Tam of Vietnam who ran her adjacent – though the scoreline would suggest different – and adjacent forced a lasting number connected her successful the 3rd round. Both the competitors are apt to beryllium successful Hangzhou. Nikhat volition beryllium prepared and unfazed by the challenge.

"She was ever a precise bully method boxer but successful the past 2 years she has transformed herself," said erstwhile main manager Bhaskar Bhatt who was successful Nikhat's country astatine the satellite championships.

"She has speed, powerfulness and control. She is focused and she is making intelligent moves, adapting to antithetic styles. Nikhat has raised her level," helium adds.

The rise

The Istanbul World Championships rubric past twelvemonth was a breakthrough infinitesimal for Nikhat, who archetypal emerged successful the nationalist oculus arsenic a inferior satellite champion successful 2011, but remained successful the shadows of Mary Kom arsenic they some competed successful the aforesaid value class.

Before Tokyo, she was brave capable to inquire for a enactment proceedings against Mary Kom and adjacent though she mislaid successful the bout, she took it arsenic a pugnacious acquisition and waited for her opportunity. The archetypal extremity was to marque herself truthful beardown astatine the home level that determination should beryllium nary competition. Having won back-to-back nationalist titles and each enactment proceedings astatine location successful the past 2 years, Nikhat has led by illustration and not near thing to chance. She is the undisputed prime successful her value category.

Her travel from Nizamabad, Telangana to the apical of boxing satellite is inspirational. Nikhat is present a poster girl; not shy of speaking retired connected issues. She has embraced the limelight with uncommon equanimity.

"She is flooded with petition for functions etc and adjacent if she attends a fewer it is ne'er astatine the outgo of her training. Her grooming takes precedence implicit everything, she is that disciplined and driven," says Bhatt.

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